In this season of giving and good will towards all, it would only be fair for at least one Listmas list to give some attention to the oft under-appreciated sidekicks of gaming. It can be easy for said sidekicks to get lost within the shadow of the more famed hero of the game, but that doesn’t mean they are any less important, for they are so often there to provide the hero with advice and support or, at the very least, give voice to those silent protagonists out there. This is for you, sidekicks.
10: Tippi (Super Paper Mario): Let’s start this list off with Tippi, Mario’s Pixl companion in Super Paper Mario. Not only does she give the famous plumber advice, but she also plays a huge role in the game’s plot, once we finally uncover her true identity, that is. I always enjoyed watching Tippi’s personality develop as the game progresses, as well, into someone who is kind, but strong.
9: Issun (Okami): Issun is a tiny, yet arrogant, wandering artist that accompanies the white wolf, Amaterasu. He is about an inch tall and can be found hopping about on Ammy’s head like some sort of flea, but don’t let his small size fool you. Issun becomes a great friend as the game progresses, and his help is truly invaluable. He’s the perfect proof that size doesn’t matter.
8: Wheatley and Potato GLaDOS (Portal 2): It’s not until Portal 2 that Chell gets her very own sidekick, two, in fact, though they’re not the most helpful. Wheatley accompanies her throughout the first half of Portal 2, and while he is terribly dim-witted, at least he’s good for more than a few laughs. Through a shocking twist, the second half of the game has us joined by GLaDOS herself, though she’s a lot less deadly now that she’s powered by a potato battery. I can’t say a robot who had formerly put serious effort into killing me is really the best sidekick, but when you’re alone in a massive, abandoned facility, I don’t think you can really be too picky.
7: Mr. Drippy (Ni no Kuni): The Lord High Lord of the Fairies is a lesser well-known sidekick from the somewhat obscure Ni no Kuni. This goofy, little creature is the companion to the game’s hero, Oliver, and his knowledge is vital in helping Oliver and his friends on their quest to stop the Dark Djinn. The best thing about Mr. Drippy, however, is his personality and his strange manner of speaking. Heck, mun, he’s flippin’ hilarious! Tidy!
6: Daxter (Jak and Daxter): Daxter is the wise-cracking sidekick of former silent protagonist, Jak. Daxter’s loud mouth more than makes up for his small size, and ever since his transformation into an ottsel, he spends much of his time hanging out on Jak’s shoulder. Daxter isn’t the most useful companion out there, as he’s more around for comic relief, but he does get his own levels from time to time in Jak 2 and 3, and he even got his own spinoff game.
5: Yoshi (Super Mario Bros.): This list would certainly be incomplete without Yoshi, that green dinosaur who is always ready to help out a certain plumber. Yoshi’s long tongue and unique abilities always made the stages in which he appeared a lot easier, and a lot more fun. Plus, he’s simply adorable.
4: Midna (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess): Nearly every Zelda game has some sort of character to give Link advice, not to mention a voice. Navi, Tatl, Fi…but my favorite by far is the Twilight Princess herself, Midna. Like Fi, I never found Midna to be all that helpful, but her personality made her a great companion to have around.
3: Dixie Kong (Donkey Kong Country 2): I’m not sure if many would consider Dixie to be Diddy’s sidekick in DKC2, but considering her name’s not even in the title, I think it’s safe to label her as such. Dixie was an awesome addition to the Kong family thanks to her ability to fly with her hair and her general cuteness. Let her stand still for long enough and she’ll blow bubbles with her gum and drink from a juice box. Aww!
2: Clank (Ratchet & Clank): Clank is a diminutive robot who brings a whole new level of accuracy to the phrase “I got your back”. Clank is the logical, more responsible, member of the pair and is the brains to Ratchet’s, well, Ratchet is certainly not very brawny, but his vast arsenal of crazy guns certainly makes him the powerhouse of the two. Nevertheless, where would the Lombax be without his tiny robotic ally? Probably still stuck on Veldin. Plus, Clank has a truly adorable laugh.
1: Kazooie (Banjo-Kazooie): You might say that Kazooie is not truly a sidekick, for she plays an equal role to her bear partner. In all honesty, her abilities are often superior to his. Nevertheless, considering we spend the entire first game technically playing as Banjo, I count Kazooie as the sidekick, though she might quite possibly the best sidekick of all time. This bird’s sassy and has even been known to peck poor Banjo on the head if you leave them alone for too long, but their adventures against Gruntilda the witch would have been impossible without Kazooie’s ability to fly, talon trot, shoot eggs from her mouth…and the list goes on and on. Sometimes, it seems Kazooie is so useful, I almost wonder if Banjo is simply there to carry her around….
The Duck, Sidekick to Her Cat, Elsa